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DISCUSSION QUESTIONS FOR
THE HUNGER BOOK:

Mushrooms:

 

What is the relationship between food, memory, and belonging in this chapter?

What’s the significance of the narrator’s mushroom costume?

 

Birds:

 

How does the relationship between the narrator’s parents play into the themes of belonging and hunger for love?

 

What’s the significance of the killing of sparrows in China under Mao Zedong?

 

Roots:

 

How does the author’s experiences in totalitarian Poland as a child influence her parenting in this chapter?

 

What’s the connection between the two kinds of “roots” the author writes about?

 

 

Lard:

 

How does the book Moominland Midwinter influence the narrator’s understanding of her world?

 

How does the narrator’s understanding of her mother change as she uncovers more about her? 

 

 

Bread:

 

What is the effect of the structure of this chapter? Why alternate between war-time stories and the making of bread in the present day?

 

How does the generational trauma caused by famines and food shortages impact the author?

 

 

Blood:

 

How does the motif of blood evolve throughout this chapter?

 

How does the author portray the hardships of motherhood?

 

 

Carp:

 

How has the narrator’s ways of coping evolved throughout her life?

 

Why does the author relate to the carp?

 

 

Vodka:

 

What does the ending of this chapter say about living with addicts and with abuse?

 

How does the author try to understand her mother’s alcoholism? 

 

 

Mushrooms 2:

 

How does the lack of answers regarding Chernobyl relate to the larger narrative of reflecting on one’s trauma?

 

What’s the impact of totalitarianism on how the narrator perceived the world as a child?

 

 

Hunger:

 

What does the ending reveal about our relationship with trauma and our past in general?

 

What’s the importance of the quote “all life forms are in fact processes not things”?

Questions prepared by Evan Bone.
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